“He said to him, ‘My son you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because you brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”
Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,
The gospel reading yesterday was a familiar one to all of us – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. You may remember that the younger son asks for his inheritance, which his father provides. The younger son then goes off and spends all of his money, and, years later, returns home and asks for forgiveness. Meanwhile, the older son remains faithful and continues to work for his father. Upon the younger son’s return, the father welcomes him with open arms and prepares a great feast for him, much to the chagrin of the older son.
It is sometimes difficult to understand the father’s response in this story. Most of us typically relate to the older son – we try to be faithful and follow the rules, and it is difficult to accept leniency for those who break them. Children are very quick to point out the fault of others in the classroom or on the playground. They oftentimes do not recognize when they are breaking a rule, but they definitely let us know when someone else is at fault. Usually, when there is a conflict between two students or a group of students, we bring them together and sort out the stories – usually the truth lies somewhere in between each version. In the end, we ask students to apologize and/or forgive one another. Holding grudges is never productive and it is not what our faith calls us to do.
More often than not, we play the role of the younger son, having strayed from the virtuous path, and in need of forgiveness. It is fortunate for us that our heavenly father extends his loving arms to embrace us and always welcome us home, regardless of how badly we have acted. So, in these final weeks of Lent, when someone has “wronged” us or our children, consider that there may be underlying reasons that have triggered the behavior, of which we are unaware, and let us try to be more patient with one another, more tolerant of one another, and forgive one another more readily.